Joao Mario, the Portuguese midfielder, enjoyed a good loan spell at West Ham and the London outfit are keen on having him for another season on loan. However, his parent club Inter Milan wants to sell him on a permanent basis and they are demanding £26m for the midfielder.
The 25-year-old Euro winner, impressed at his time under David Moyes and he played a crucial part in Hammers survival run in the latter stages of the Premier League. He made 13 appearances and scored two goals and assisted one.
Mario claimed that he was happy with his experience in England. He had said,’’ It has been an amazing experience for me. I want to say thank you to West Ham for everything they have done for me as well as my teammates, and my coaches. I am really happy with the last six months and we will see what happens.”
It will be interesting to see whether Manuel Pellegrini will keep him for his future plans. Mario has impressed immensely with his work rate and the Hammers currently lack a player like him in the squad. It might very well happen that they move in to sign him on a permanent basis.
Mario shot into limelight after his performances in the Euro 2016 where he helped Portugal win the trophy. Inter Milan got his services for £34 m and he made 33 appearances for them in his first season.
Mario is a versatile player and he is capable of playing anywhere in the final third. Traditionally he is an attacking midfielder but can fill in the role of the central midfielder as well as his work rate is impressive. He always looks like someone who has a lot of time on the ball and never looks hurried even when he is under pressure from defenders. He is also known for his driving runs as he is not shy to take on defenders.
Mario is still 25 and the price which the Italian giants are asking is quite justified. Pellegrini will certainly want to have someone like him in midfield and he has settled pretty well in England in a short while. His versatility makes him a huge boon for any side and the fact that someone like Mark Noble is struggling to keep pace in the English Top division, Mario can be a good option even in the middle of the park for the Hammers.